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The Importance Of CPR and AED

April 28, 2023
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CPR is essential in the event of sudden cardiac arrest. Unfortunately, without an AED to restart the heart, it can be very difficult to save someone’s life.

An automatic external defibrillator (AED) is a medical device that shocks the heart to restart it and can be an invaluable aid in workplace and public settings.

Resuscitation

Resuscitation is the process of bringing someone who appears unconscious and dead back to life. This step is crucial as the body only supplies itself with oxygen for a limited period after cardiac arrest, so once that supply has been depleted, cell and tissue damage occur.

Resuscitation is the most essential aspect of providing oxygen to the brain and other organs while pumping blood throughout other parts of the body. Early, high-quality CPR performed by trained rescuers with minimal interruptions can significantly boost a victim’s chance of survival.

CPR

CPR (Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation) is a simple first aid technique that can save someone’s life in case of sudden cardiac arrest. It involves repeatedly pressing on someone’s chest to stimulate blood flow and create an artificial heartbeat.

When done promptly and correctly, CPR can dramatically increase a victim’s chances of survival. It is a lifesaving skill that should be learned and practiced by everyone.

First, call 911 and obtain an AED if one is available. To perform CPR, push hard and fast in the center of a person’s chest at 100-120 compressions per minute. After each push, bring their chest back up to its normal position.

Continue for 2 minutes or until the person has normal breathing, coughing and movement. If they don’t respond after 2 minutes of CPR, use an AED. If no AED is available, continue 2-minute cycles of CPR until emergency responders arrive.

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Defibrillation

Defibrillation, a life-saving technique that delivers an electric shock to the heart, is crucial in resuscitation because it quickly restores a normal rhythm. This is especially useful during the initial minutes after collapse from sudden cardiac arrest when many people may still be alive but not breathing and without a heartbeat.

According to the American Heart Association, defibrillation is “the most critical link in survival” and should be performed promptly.

In the event of sudden cardiac arrest, the electrical system in the heart can become disrupted and cause irregular or rapid beats. Defibrillation helps restore normal rhythm to the heartbeat, helping preserve brain and cardiac tissue until emergency services arrive.

Shocks delivered within 3 minutes after SCA can significantly improve survival rates, according to the American Heart Association. For this reason alone, having an AED on hand in every home and business is so important.

A microprocessor in the defibrillator monitors heart rhythm through electrode pads (some AED models require you to press an ANALYZE button). If shock is necessary, these electrodes deliver an electric shock through their sticky pads into the victim’s chest wall, where it is received by their heart muscle.

AED

An AED is a medical device that can diagnose and administer shocks to reverse life-threatening arrhythmias such as ventricular fibrillation or ventricular tachycardia. AEDs can prevent permanent brain damage and even death for victims when they deliver an electrical shock to restore their heart’s regular rhythm.

As soon as the AED is retrieved, it can be turned on by pressing the power button. Once the device is on, follow the audio and visual prompts. Typically, you remove the clothing from the chest of the person and place one pad on the upper right side of the chest and the other pad on the lower left side of the chest. The AED will analyze the heart’s rhythm and determine if a shock is needed.

If shock is advised, make sure no one is touching the person. Say “CLEAR” in a loud voice and press the “shock” button if needed. Some AEDs will deliver a shock automatically. After the AED delivers the shock, or if no shock is advised, immediately continue CPR beginning with compressions.

A shock delivered within three to five minutes can save a life, but survival rates decrease by 10 percent each minute that defibrillation is delayed. That is why AEDs should be readily available in public places – including workplaces.